Jimi Hendrix Making Love With the Gods
by Tracy Falbe
Despite the success of Electric Ladyland long-time manager Chas Chandler parted from Jimi Hendrix shortly after its production. The strain of squabbling over financial and creative pressures had wearied Chandler , who decided that he was no longer a compatible part of the Jimi Hendrix Experience enterprise. Jimi Hendrix would repeatedly ask for Chandler to return as manager, but the man who first produced Jimi Hendrix for the world would always decline. Their time together was done.
The loss of Chas Chandler set Jimi Hendrix up for a tumultuous year in 1969. With success came rising pressure that he dealt with erratically. Sometimes his concert performances were sloppy or rude, but other times he would be exceptionally brilliant. Despite this inconsistency, demand for Jimi Hendrix only increased. His venues grew larger until he was headlining stadium concerts and earning huge paydays, sometimes even up to $100,000.
Then the chronic conflict between Jimi Hendrix and Noel Redding boiled over and the Experience ended as a band. Jimi Hendrix responded by contacting his old friend from his army days, Billy Cox. They worked at putting together a new band.
Gypsy Sons and Rainbows was the result, and only after cursory rehearsals, the band debuted at the now famous outdoor music festival in Woodstock, New York. Jimi Hendrix was the closing act at Woodstock, as well as the highest paid, and his performance is right up there with the moon landing for bringing a historic close to an amazing decade.
Rain at Woodstock brought a plague of equipment problems before Jimi Hendrix took the stage. His band was ill-prepared, but when watching video of the performance, the enthusiasm of Jimi Hendrix and the band mates for the music is clear.
Gypsy Sons and Rainbows did not last very long after Woodstock . Jimi Hendrix soon declared that his group was not working and disbanded it, but he immediately started recruiting again. What formed next was the Band of Gypsys. On New Year’s Eve 1969, Band of Gypsys debuted to a packed house at the Fillmore East in Manhattan. A live album entitled Band of Gypsys was recorded during this performance.
Band of Gypsys turned out to be only a brief affair, quickly dissolving after only one more performance. Manager Mike Jeffery tried to regroup Jimi Hendrix with his original Experience band mates, but the attempt to remarry Noel Redding and Jimi Hendrix miscarried immediately. Mitch Mitchell returned, however, and the Experience reformed with Billy Cox on bass instead of Redding.
In the spring of 1970, Jimi Hendrix started his Cry of Love tour to enthusiastic audiences undeterred by the chaos that gripped the life of their favorite guitarist.
On September 18, 1970 Jimi Hendrix died in the London apartment of Monika Dannemann of an overdose of sleeping pills and alcohol that caused him to choke on his vomit. Such an ugly end to a talented man who created stunning and often beautiful music. His life went so quickly, like a meteor flashing across the night sky, but all words are fumbling when trying to describe genius. Friends and family of Jimi Hendrix believe that his death was accidental and not a suicide.
Jimi Hendrix certainly appeared to be looking forward to life. His contract with Mike Jeffery was soon to expire and he was actively shopping for a new manager. Only a couple weeks before his death, Jimi Hendrix had opened his personal recording studio in New York called Electric Lady. The recording equipment was state-of-the-art with a price tag worthy of a rock legend: $1,000,000. Just when it seemed like Jimi Hendrix was on the verge of finally getting the time and equipment to more fully explore his creativity, he died. It is a shame to think about what could have been recorded in that studio. Our only consolation is the wonder and beauty that he was able to share while here during his sky dive of a life.
“Jimi Hendrix” Sean Piccoli, Chelsea House Publishers 1997.
“Jimi Hendrix Cherokee Mist: The Lost Writings” Bill Nitopi, Harper Collins, 1993.
Page 1 - A Tribute to Jimi Hendrix
Page 2 - A Guitar Hero Is Born - Jimi Hendrix the Early Years
Page 3 - Marching to His Own Tune - Jimi Hendrix Gains Experience
Page 4 - Rock-and-Roll Adventure - The Jimi Hendrix Experience Intensifies
Page 5 - Jimi Hendrix - Making Love With the Gods